Braising: A Cook’s Best Cold-Weather Friend

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Long winter Sundays just beg for a meal focused around slow braising, one that will fill the house for hours with delicious aromas wafting in from the kitchen.

Long winter Sundays just beg for a meal focused around slow braising, one that will fill the house for hours with delicious aromas wafting in from the kitchen. Add the benefit of the oven’s heat offering a much-needed blast of gently radiating warmth to beat the chill outside, and you have a can’t-miss situation that builds anticipation for the many hours of cooking, and is rewarded with a deeply flavorful meal. The beauty of the braise is that with minimal effort, dinner more or less cooks itself. Pair this chicken with a simple baked side dish that brings both the starch and the vegetables to the table in one dish, and dinner is done before you’ve finished the crossword.
 
Chicken Braised with Tomatoes and Olives
MEAT
 
1 Tbsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large bone-in chicken breasts, cut in half
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 Tbsps. chopped, fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ cup red or white wine
¾ cup pitted oil cured black olives
 
Heat oven to 325˚. In large Dutch oven, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add chicken pieces, skin-side down, and sear, Turn over, searing the reverse side. 
 
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add oregano and bay leaves and stir. Add remaining ingredients. Stir again.
 
Cover and place in oven, bake 2 hours or more until chicken is falling off the bone. Adjust for seasoning, garnish with fresh herbs if desired, and serve over rice, pasta or couscous.
 
Serves 4 with leftovers
 
Baked Brown Rice with Peas
PAREVE
 
cups brown rice
cups boiling water
1 Tbsp. margarine
½ tsp. salt
cup frozen peas
 
Preheat oven to 325˚. Place rice in 2 quart baking dish with cover.
 
Pour in boiling water, margarine and salt; stir. 
 
Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Add peas, stir, cover, and return to oven for another 30 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and rice and peas are cooked through. Fluff with fork and serve.
 
Serves 4 with leftovers
 
Pear Crisp
PAREVE
 
5 firm, ripe pears like Anjou, Bosc or Bartlett, peeled and sliced 
Juice of ½ lemon
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup chopped pecans, almonds, or walnuts, if desired
5 Tbsps. margarine, softened 
¾ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. cardamom
 
Grease 8-inch square pan. Scatter pears on bottom and sprinkle them with lemon juice.
 
Mix remaining ingredients into a coarse crumbly texture and sprinkle over pears, pressing down gently.
 
Bake 45 minutes, or until top is brown and crispy and pears are soft. Serve warm or at room temperature plain, with sorbet or non-dairy whipped topping.
 
Serves 4 with leftovers 
 

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